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EU-US airliner war in nobody's interests: Airbus chief

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Airbus chief executive Guillaume Faury urged the European Union and United States on Wednesday to reach a negotiated solution to a long-running dispute over airline subsidies and tariffs, saying there would be no winners in a trade war in the sector.

[PARIS] Airbus chief executive Guillaume Faury urged the European Union and United States on Wednesday to reach a negotiated solution to a long-running dispute over airline subsidies and tariffs, saying there would be no winners in a trade war in the sector.

"The EU and US administrations should freeze all tariffs and sit round the table to negotiate a mutually acceptable solution," Mr Faury said in an article to be published in Thursday's edition of the French economic daily, Les Echos, but released in advance.

On Monday, the World Trade Organization arbitrator gave Washington the green light to slap tariffs on US$7.5 billion worth of EU imports, in retaliation for illegal EU subsidies to Airbus.

It was a landmark moment in the 15-year legal battle between the European planemaker and US counterpart Boeing.

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In the immediate line of fire are civilian aircraft from Britain, France, Germany and Spain - the countries which formed Airbus - which will cost 10 per cent more when imported to the US from October 18.

But the tariffs also target consumer products including wine.

The EU's top trade official has said Europe would fight until the very last moment to dissuade the US from imposing retaliatory tariffs.

In the newspaper article, Mr Faury warned that "no one would win in a trade war, not the global aeronautic industry nor the American or European economies."

Airbus, he said, has over time adopted a series of compliance measures which have been largely validated by the WTO.

"On the other hand, our competitor Boeing has done nothing, and continues to do nothing, to comply with the WTO rulings against it," he added.

The European Union is considering imposing retaliatory tariffs on some US products if it is unable to persuade WTO judges, next year, that Boeing has equally benefitted from illegal subsidies from the US government.

AFP